Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.
Because his wife left him and took his son with her, screenwriter Ben Anderson has started drinking, a lot. He's getting more and more isolated and he troubles women in bars because he wants to have sex with them. When he gets fired, he decides to leave everything behind and move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. In Las Vegas he meets Sera, a prostitute with some problems as well who he moves in with. Written by
Marco van Hoof <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nicolas Cage researched his character by binge drinking and visiting many hospitalized career alcoholics. Elisabeth Shue associated with prostitutes and interviewed them on the strip in Las Vegas. See more »
Ben drinks from his beer when he is giving Sera the earrings. In the next shots the beer is full again. See more »
Leaving My Senses perhaps . . . but there's more here than meets the eye.
I've seen this film 5 or 6 times. It occurred to me on the last viewing that it could be the ultimate Touched by an Angel Ben's time in Las Vegas, that is. I believe author John O'Brien thought he was living through a hallucination in the final throes of his diseased life.
The possibility rises out of several conspicuous dynamics in the film.
First, that Ben's life was invested developing Hollywood drama prior to being dismissed by his boss, who will clearly miss his talent and personality in the office, a talent singularly broken by the ravages of alcoholism. He is good at inventing and developing "story". If his occupation had been Investment Banking or Teaching, I'd feel differently. But John O'Brien bore him with a Hollywood mind. That lit the flame for me.
That Ben repeatedly calls Sera his angel during his demise - as he enjoys the best of - and endures the worst of - Las Vegas living. It is possible that all of it is a hallucination during the final pathetic act of his life. The invention of Sera makes his passing bearable, doable, a possible goal for him.
That Sera endures the college team horrors, discuses her relationship with the off-camera therapist to whom she confesses her soul-deep love for Ben ... even the problems with her pimp and landlord constitute deep back story in the mind of a man with a talent for such invention, desperate to flesh out the reasons why this angel will escort him to the next world. In my last analysis, she is an angel divined in his fertile mind to embody all of the good people and events in his life (the wealth flashback memories, e.g.). Sera has come to take him out while steeling the love in his heart. She sees him for what he is, because that's what responsible angels do.
This is a work with metaphor far beyond the veneer of the surface dialog. It's a film demanding to be viewed more than once. Or perhaps, I'm just going nuts, have lost it and I'm hallucinating in my own right.
Either way, enjoy. 10 out of 10.
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